Paul Manship

Paul Manship, “Actaeon”, 1925, Gilt Bronze, Alexis Rudier Fondeur, 120.7 x 130.8 x 33.7 cm, Cooper Hewitt Museum

Born in December of 1885 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Paul Manship was an American sculptor whose subjects and modern style were largely inspired by classical sculpture. After attending Mechanical Arts High School, he took evening classes at the St. Paul Institute School of Art from 1892 to 1903, but left to work as a designer and illustrator. In 1905 Manship enrolled briefly in the Art Students League in New York City under Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a sculptor trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. 

Soon after his arrival to New York, Paul Manship became an assistant to stone sculptor Solon Borglum, whom he credited as the master who had most influenced him. With money saved, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1907-08 under sculptor Charles Grafly. Moving back to New York, Manship worked at the studio of Viennese sculptor Isidore Konti, where he modeled a decorative relief entitled “Man with Wild Horses”, later shown at the National Academy of Design in 1908.

In 1909 at the age of twenty-three, Paul Manship received a three-year scholarship, the coveted American Prix de Rome, to study at the American Academy in Rome. His early work was influenced by Rodin’s expressive style but, after traveling throughout Italy and Greece, he developed an appreciation for Hellenistic statues and for Egyptian, Assyrian, and Minoan artwork. This affinity for archaic work influenced Manship’s unified linear style of sculpture for which he is well known; his novel approach represented a break from the popular Beaux-Arts style of his former teachers. 

After three years abroad, Manship settled in New York City in 1912, where he began a successful career that would last fifty years. His arresting sculptures, with their freely modeled simple forms and dramatic gestures, were in demand in the New York art world. In February of 1913 Manship had a solo exhibition of his work at New York’s Architectural League. An instant success with critics and the public, it resulted in many private and public commissions. 

This success of Manship’s solo show was followed with two more exhibitions of his work in November of 1913, moving his career briskly forward. A show at the Berlin Photographic Company in 1914 resulted in the sale of almost one hundred of Manship’s bronze pieces. He was honored by his peers for this achievement with a gold medal at the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915.

Some of Paul Manship’s most notable works are: the set of monumental bronze gates at the entrance to the New York Zoological Park in the Bronx area of New York, erected as a memorial to Paul Rainey; the Prometheus Fountain in Rockefeller Center, New York City, which ultimately became his signature work despite his disappointment with the subject; and the “Time and Fates Sundial” with the accompanying four “Moods of Time”, executed in plaster of Paris, for the reflecting pool of the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. 

Paul Manship, at the top of his profession, was bestowed with many honors: membership in the Academia Nacional de las Bellas Artes in Argentina in 1944; membership in Paris’ Academie des Beaux-Arts in 1946; membership in l’Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1952, the gold medal for sculpture by the National Institute of Arts and Letters in New York City in 1945; membership in the French Legion of Honor; and election to president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1948.

“I’m not especially interested in anatomy, though naturally I’ve studied it. And, although I approve generally of normally correct proportions, what matters is the spirit which the artist puts into his creation—the vitality, the rhythm, the emotional effect.” —Paul Manship

Juan Coderch and Javier Malavia

Bronze Sculptures by Juan Coderch and Javier Malavia

Born in 1959 in Castellar del Vallés, Barcelona, sculptor Juan Coderch graduated from Barcelona’s Faculty of Fine Art in 1984. Sculptor Javier Malavia, born in 1970, in Oñati, Guipúzcoa, graduated from Valencia’s San Carlos Faculty of Fine Art in 1993, Discovering similarities in their sculptural art, they started the common project Coderch & Malavia in 2015, following in the tradition of figurative work by master sculptors such as Rodin, Mailol, and Bourdelle. 

Working from their studio and exhibition space in Valencia, Coderch and Malavia both share in the hands-on process of a single piece, each contributing to the creation of the sculpture. The figurative sculpture’s theme is taken from the common interests of both sculptors, particularly the theater, mythology, and the bullfight, with man and his life as the central focus.

Working in clay or wax initially, Coderch and Malavia’s finished works are cast in bronze. They model the human body in a classical tradition, featuring figures full of tension and movement, frozen in time but still depicting the intensity of their lives, and the myths these lives conjure up. 

Since the very beginning of their project, Coderch and Malavia have been seen as prominent figurative artists. For their 2017 “Hamlet”, they received the Reina Sofia Painting and Sculpture Prize; and their 2019 “Swan Dance” won First Prize at the 14th ARC International Salon Competition, held at Sotheby’s in New York.  

Coderch & Malavia have participated in more than fifteen collective and solo exhibitions in France, the United States, Mexico, Greece, and Italy, among others. Their bronze works are now a part of private collections in various countries of Europe, of Asia and America.

Giovanni Francesco Susini

Giovanni Francesco Susini, “The Farnese Bull”, 1613, Bronze, 46.5 x 38 x 38 cm

Giovanni Francesco Susini, known as Gianfrancesco, was born in Florence, Italy, in 1585. He was trained as a junior member in the Florence workshop of Flemish sculptor Giambologna, where his uncle was the principal  bronze-caster. In 1624-1626, Gianfrancesco spent time in Rome where he experienced both the classical and the emerging statuary of the Baroque movement; however, he had already established for himself a Mannerist style of exaggeration and tension in his work.

Gianfrancesco’s first independent commission, by the Medici Grand Dukes, was a bronze bas-relief for a chapel altar in 1614. For a sculpture to be placed in the Medici family’s Boboli Gardens, he produced a small figurative bronze with thrashing figures set on a small oval plinth. Gianfrancesco also contributed two other works to the Boboli Gardens; “Cupid Breaking a Heart with a Hammer” and “Cupid Shooting an Arrow”, both set in the Vasca dell’Isola, or the Island Basin of the Gardens.  In 1615 for the main entrance of the Santissima Annunziata, he created two containers of bronze for holy water, acquasantiere, to be placed on the columns. 

Gianfrancesco’s designs usually employ complicated, balanced relationships of figures, usually two or three, meant to be appreciated from multiple viewpoints. All of his bronze smaller works, including the table sculptures, were finely cast and finished, viewable from all sides. 

Few sculptures by Gianfrancesco bear his signature. A signed marble statue “Bacchus and a Young Satyr” is exhibited in the Louvre Museum; the 1627 “Abduction of Helen” now in the Los Angeles Getty Museum; the 1639 “Venus Burning the Arrows of Love”, the 1638 “Venus Chastising Love”, and the “Gaul Committing Suicide”, all now in the Louvre. Gianfrancesco’s small bronze “David with the Head of Goliath” is now at the Liechtenstein Museum in Venice. Both sculptor and caster, Giovanni Francesco Susini died in Florence, Italy, on October 17, 1653.

Inspired by the ancient marble sculpture of the Farnese Bull excavated from the Baths of Caracall in 1545, Gianfrancesco made his bronze group “The Farnese Bull” in 1613. The group was expertly cast in several components, invisibly joined together, and engraved. Several castings of this work were made, located now at the Galleria Borghese, noted in the collection with a ebony pedestal in 1625, and at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg; 

The rather obscure myth behind this sculpture can be located in Lemprière’s “Classical Dictionary” published in 1788: 

“Dirce was a woman whom Lycus, King of Thebes, married after he had divorced Antiope. When Antiope became pregnant by Jupiter, Dirce suspected her husband of infidelity to her bed, and imprisoned Antiope, whom she tormented with the greatest cruelty. Antiope escaped from her confinement, and brought forth Amphion and Zethus on mount Cithæron. When these children were informed of the cruelties to which their mother had been exposed, they besieged Thebes, put Lycus to death, and tied the cruel Dirce to the tail of a wild bull, which dragged her over rocks and precipices, and exposed her to the most poignant pains, till the gods, pitying her fate, changed her into a fountain, in the neighborhood of Thebes.”

Anna Hyatt Huntington

The Sculptural Work of Anna Hyatt Huntington

A master of naturalistic animal sculputes, Anna Hyatt Huntington was born in 1876 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Adiella Hyatt, an amateur landscape artist, and Alpheus Hyatt, a professor of paleontology and zoology at Harvard University and MIT. During her childhood years, she developed a passion for drawing and an extensive knowledge of anatomy and animal behavior.

After studying several years to become a concert violinist, Huntington switched her studies to sculpture under portrait sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson at his Boston studio. Her first one-woman show, consisting of forty animal sculptures, was held in 1900 at the Boston Arts Club. During this year, Huntington produced her first commissioned work; two Great Danes cut from blue granite for wealthy Boston merchant Thomas Lawson.

After the death of her father and marriage of her sister, Huntington  left Boston, moving to New York City. She attended the city’s Art Students League, studying under marble sculptor George Grey Barnard and Hermon MacNeil, whose sculptures concentrated on American Indian subjects. Huntington studied briefly under Gutzon Borgium, the designer of Mount Rushmore, but left after criticizing his knowledge of animal anatomy. Choosing to be more independent, she started spending most of her time at the Bronx Park Zoo and circuses to model animals. The result of her observations there were her first major works: the 1902 equestrian work “Winter Moon” and the 1908 “Reaching Jaguar”.

Anna Huntington shared a studio with sculptor Abasteria St. Leger Eberle for several years, collaborating in partnership on works for two years. Two of their collaborative works were: “Men and Bull”, which won a bronze medal at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and “”Boy and Goat Playing” which was exhibited at the gallery of the Society of American Artists in 1906. Between 1906 and 1910, Anna Huntington, confident of her skills, traveled several times between New York, Paris and Naples, working on commissions and exhibiting her works.

After an early model of a Joan of Arc equestrian statue gained honorable mention in the 1910 Paris Salon, Huntington received a commission by the City of New York to produce a life-sized bronze statue from the model. After extensive research on medieval armor at the Metropolitan Museum and a search for the perfect horse model, Huntington finished the large-scale “Joan of Arc” clad in a full suit of medieval armor. The unvieling occurred on December 6th of 1915, marking it as New York City’s first monument made by a woman, and the first monument to feature a real woman of history as its subject.

In 1923 Anna Huntington married her husband, railroad heir and philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington, who supported her work both financially and emotionally. Anna Huntington continued to work on her sculptures, winning new commissions including the equestrian work “El Cid Campeador”, the cast-aluminum “Fighting Stallions” at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, and “Diana” installed in 1948 at the National Academy of Design. 

In the late 1930s, Anna and Archer Huntington donated their Fifth Avenue townhouse to the National Academy of Design. A few years later, as Archer Huntington became quite ill, they donated their Haverstraw, New York, estate and zoo to the state of New York. In 1931, Anna and Archer Huntington established  Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in the United States. 

Following Archer Huntington’s death in 1955, Anna Huntington returned to full-time art work, despite being in her 80s. Between 1959 and 1966, she completed five more equestrian statues, including one of the late nineteenth century writer and activist  José Marti, one of a young Abraham Lincoln, and one of a young Andrew Jackson. On Huntington’s ninetieth birthday in 1966 she was still working, reportedly on a bust of the composer Charles Ives. Around the end of the 1960s, Huntington finally retired from creative work. She died on October 4, 1973, in Redding, Connecticut, following a series of strokes at the age of 97.

Note:  The Brookgreen Gardens contain many of Huntington’s works and many figures by other artists, the acquisitions being a boon to struggling artists of the Depression era. Now a National Historic Landmark, it is the most significant collection of figurative sculpture, in an outdoor setting, by American artists in the world. It also has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and contains thousands of acres of Wildlife Preserve.

Henry Moore

Henry Moore OM CH, “Two Piece Sculpture No. 7 Pipe”, 1966, Casting Date Unknown, Bronze, 432 x 839 x315 cm., Tate Museum, London

“The Two Piece Sculpture no. 7 Pipe” is one of a series of two-piece sculptures made during the 1960s that relate to Moore’s interest in bone forms. The projecting beam that bridges the two parts has been interpreted by critics as a phallic appendage, which has led the sculpture to be seen as a highly abstract representation of sexual coupling.

This sculpture was developed from a small maquette made in plaster in 1966. By this time Moore had established a practice of testing out his designs for sculptures by making small three-dimensional models as opposed to drawing his ideas on a page. It is probable that Moore made the small model for this sculpture in his maquette studio in the grounds of his home, Hoglands, at Perry Green in Hertfordshire. This studio housed his ever growing collection of found objects, the shapes of which often served as starting points for Moore’s formal experiments in three dimensions.

In “Two Piece Sculpture No. 7 Pipe”, Moore combined his interest in the human figure with his concurrent explorations of interlocking forms. After separated the body into two distinct parts in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Moore then began thinking about ways in which separate sculptural parts could intersect or interlock to create a single unit while maintaining their individuality. These ideas came to fruition in works such as “Locking Piece”, 1963-64, in which two differently shaped elements intersect. According to Bowness, it was the relationship between the two parts of “Two Piece Sculpture No. 7 Pipe” that was of interest to Moore, and the subsequent omission of the often-used term ‘Reclining Figure’ from its title reflected these concerns.

Jacob Halder

Jacob Halder (Royal Workshops of Greenwich, England), Portions of a Field Armor, 1588-1590, Steel, Brass, Gilding, Leather and Silk Velvet Textile, Art Institute of Chicago

Decorated with etched and gilt ornamental bands of zigzag and scroll designs set against a blackened ground, this armor resembles 16th century garments embellished with embroidered bands and edged with lace. The cuirass (breastplate and backplate) is of peascod form, featuring a high, narrow waist extending to a point below the waistline, with a scalloped border, as seen in clothing of the period. A knight could have dressed for crusade or a sporting event by wearing different parts of this full armor.

Worn by an English courtier, this elaborately decorated armor was produced in the royal armory workshops in Greenwich, England. Founded by Henry VIII before 1515, the Greenwich Armory turned out distinctive ware throughout the Tudor and Elizabethan periods and during the early years of the English Civil War which occurred between 1642 to 1651.

This field armor is the work of Jacob Halder, a Master Armorer at the Armory. He was born and trained in Landshut, Bavaria, and brought a strong German influence to the decoration of armors. He succeeded John Kelte as Master Workman in 1576 and worked at the Armory until his death in 1608. He was responsible for two armors in the Royal Collection Trust: those made for Sir Christopher Hatton and for Henry, Prince of Wales, the elder son of James Vi.

Evan Chambers

Evan Chambers, Octopus/Squid Series of Lamps, Copper, Bronze, Glass

Evan Chambers began working with copper and blowing glass at the age of eighteen at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in their metalsmithing program. He worked with glassblower Fred Cresswell who taught him the craft of art nouveau glasswork. In 2009 he moved to Los Angeles and built his current studio, working with hot lustre glass, copper, bronze and silver.

Images reblogged with thanks to the artist’s site:

Edgeworks Design, Texas

Touch Activated Lighting by Edgeworks Design in Texas

“Drawing inspiration from the very heart of industry, Edgeworks Design strives to embody the strength and power of humanity’s thirst for progress. Using salvaged materials from heavy machinery, I craft uniquely striking products, incorporating the very tools that propelled our country through the industrial age. At Edgeworks Design I believe in up-scaling the old and abandoned, retaking the throne of American ingenuity, and breathing new life into the fragments of a throw-away culture otherwise forgotten.” – Philip

This company from Texas does handcrafted lighting and wood/metal furniture for the home. Their site is:

Tutankhamun’s Burial Dagger

Tutankhamun’s Burial Dagger, Blade Composit of Nickel and Cobalt, Egyptian 18th Dynasty

A team of researchers have confirmed that the iron in one of the daggers found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, as well as a number of other precious artifacts from Ancient Egypt, have celestial origins as they were made from meteorites. The research was undertaken by an international team of scientists from the Polytechnics of Milan and Turin, the University of Pisa, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the CNR, the University Fayoum, and the XGlab company. Archeologists had suspected for many decades that the iron used during the reign of the New Kingdom Dynasties and earlier, could come from meteorites.

The composition of iron used in Tutankhamun’s dagger, is nickel and cobalt, which is commonly found in meteorites. In addition, the study of the iron beads from Gerzeh, which are c. 5,000 years old, confirmed that in the times of the eighteenth dynasty, ancient Egyptians were advanced in working iron and that the iron used to create them comes from meteorite.  Previously, it had been believed that the Egyptian Iron Age started after 600 BC.


Bronze Pole Top of Gilgamesh with Two Animals, 800-600 BCE, Iranian in Origin, Dallas Museum of Art

This bronze figurine, usually described as a standard finial, consists of a composite human figure and animals. The upper part of the figure holds two mythological animals of lion-monster form in the “master of animals” position. The lower half of the figure includes a repeated human head flanked by the heads of cocks, which form the tails of the upper animals. The entire image is supported by a form resembling animal legs, which in turn rests upon a tripod-like structure with lugs. The work is solid cast in one piece.

Reblogged with thanks to